The Senate passed its version of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act by an overwhelming 96-3 margin. Included in the bill is a provision inserted by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) under which “Washington insiders who collect political intelligence and sell it to corporate America would have to register under the lobbying disclosure law.” “When these people come around to get information from you that they sell to hedge funds, that you’ll know who they are. You don’t know that now,” Grassley said in defense of the provision.
The House Republicans’ version of the bill, however, does not include Grassley’s provision. In fact, the House version, crafted by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), is significantly weaker than the Senate version, leading Grassley to slam his own party for granting “Wall Street’s wishes” on the legislation:
It’s astonishing and extremely disappointing that the House would fulfill Wall Street’s wishes by killing this provision. The Senate clearly voted to try to shed light on an industry that’s behind the scenes. If the Senate language is too broad, as opponents say, why not propose a solution instead of scrapping the provision altogether? I hope to see a vehicle for meaningful transparency through a House-Senate conference or other means. If Congress delays action, the political intelligence industry will stay in the shadows, just the way Wall Street likes it.
The House is planing to vote on its version of the STOCK Act this week. It’s worth remembering that, before he introduced this weak tea version of the legislation, Cantor blocked his own party from moving an insider trading bill at all.